Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Why Not Follow A&B Lourdes Redshirts whilst this Blog is on Holiday

This Blog is taking a Holiday, but why not follow the A&B Redshirts who are out in Lourdes with the Diocesan Pilgrimage. This group of young people assist in welcome at the Pilgrimage as well as taking the time to deepen their own faith and love of God in the footsteps of St Bernadette

Go to the Diocesan Youth website and their Facebook page!/ABCatholicYouthService

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

A Wonderful Saturday of Ordinations in A&B

Fr Alan Sharpe, Bhp Kieran and Fr Chris Dobson - 2 new priests

New Deacon Robert Wellbelove with wife, Cath, 2 daughters and Bhp Kieran

Monday, 23 July 2012

Damascus 2 Events: Youth Camp and Overnighter

DAMASCUS Catholic summer camp.
Ages 14-18. Friday 24th-Monday 27th August 2012. Cost £80. DAMASCUS encourages young people to come together and consider their spiritual journey and their relationship with God in the relaxed and inspirational setting of Wintershall Estate, Bramley. The event programme contains a mix of music worship, scripture brought to life, creative workshops, prayer, outdoor activities, camping and chill time all within and around the barns and fields of Wintershall. It’s an amazing combination!

Further information and the application form can be downloaded from For more information also contact Aseel Gilbert, Guildford Catholic Churches Youth Coordinator, 12 Eastgate Gardens, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 4AZ. Tel: 01483 562 704. Email: Website:

The second is our over-night retreat for young adults (ages 18-25) called
Emerge: Young Adult Over-night Retreat. Ages 18-25. Wednesday 22nd-Thursday 23rd August 2012. Cost £30. The programme is packed with music worship, prayer, teaching and food. It's all about providing a space for young adults to take some time out from their busy lives to focus on their relationship with God and how we can sustain it whether they are working or at university. Come join us for a fun, relaxed and inspiring over-night retreat.

Further information and the application form can be downloaded from For more information also contact Aseel Gilbert, Guildford Catholic Churches Youth Coordinator, 12 Eastgate Gardens, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 4AZ. Tel: 01483 562 704. Email: Website:

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Grandparents Day at Aylesford Priory July 2012

Young Grandchild places flowers
before statue of Blessed Virgin and Child
Despite the weather a wonderful day was held on July 14th with many families from around the diocese joining Bishop Kieran to celebrate Grandparents and their grandchildren.

Lots of fun activities were available from football and small ball games, children's entertainer, facepainting and kept the children entertained in between showers.

They also enjoyed crowning Our Lady and sharing saying the rosaryor spending some time in adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament . The day concluded with a wonderful Mass concelebrated by Bishop Kieran and Bishop John.

The date for next year is 13th July, come and join us !

For further information about the day or about establishing groups please contact

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Robbie Heward from St Teresa’s Southwick Carries Olympic Torch

A very excited Robbie Heward with mum, Tania about to carry Olympic flame
On Monday 16th July at 6pm Robbie Heward, who is twelve years old and a parishioner of St Teresa’s in Southwick, near Brighton, carried the Olympic Torch from the South East corner of Hove Park and then headed East along the Old Shoreham Road towards Wilbury Gardens. He was part of the Torch relay that passed from Hove through to Brighton as it heads towards London and the forthcoming opening ceremony of the Olympic Games this year.

Robbie was chosen to carry the Torch because in the words of his school teacher Janine Lewis at Hillside Special School in Portslade, “Robbie Heward is an inspiration young man who has the most engaging personality and wonderful smile. Robbie has severe learning and physical difficulties that he works hard to overcome on a daily basis. He takes part in a daily physiotherapy programme and regular PE sessions. He shows real determination to co ordinate his body to run, grasp, kick and generally take part… Hillside School is very proud to nominate Robbie as a wonderful student who would make the finest torch bearer”

His family were all very pleased and excited about this honour His Mum, Tania was beside him as he ran with the torch keeping an eye on him so that all passed off well. She said “it was great to be with Robbie at this special moment and I was proud of what he did.”

Many of his fellow parishioners from St Teresa’s were there to cheer him on his way including his parish priest Fr Alistair Simmons. Robbie received his first Holy Communion this year in the parish supported by his family, Fr Alistair, Diocese of Arundel & Brighton Special Needs Adviser, John McManus and the parish Holy Communion Catechists. His Dad Paul said that “Robbie is made to feel most welcome and is accepted as a valued member of the parish. Although Robbie has limited communication skills we know from his mood that he was very happy and excited on the day of his First Holy Communion.”

Robbie has a very complex condition including lack of speech, spinal and nervous problems as well as epilepsy and autism. But despite all this, as his family and parish testify, and as his teacher Janine Lewis said on his nomination form: “Although Robbie has limited communication, he exudes warmth and friendship.” Today on the streets of Hove as the cheering crowds watched the passing of the Olympic Torch they saw that same warmth and also incredible excitement on his face.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Catholics Lead the Way in London 2012's Vision of Paralympic Legacy

Dr Pia Matthews from A&B spealing at Conference
© Mazur/
CCN reports:
"On the eve of the 2012 Games, the Catholic Church in England and Wales has held an international conference and a national day dedicated to disability to demonstrate and witness in the words of John Paul II that "the body has the ability to manifest God’s deepest whisper".

The conference, entitled 'EveryBody has a place', and the national day called ‘Now is the time to be friends’ set out to explore and celebrate the gifts of all people while offering theory and practice in the context of the topics of disability, theology and sport.

The Central London conference was attended by 160 people including people with disabilities and their families, professional staff, academics, clergy and religious and people from all denominations interested in the centrality of disability in the Christian experience.

The Archbishop of Southwark, Peter Smith, opened the conference and each speaker affirmed the unique place of every body in creation. Speakers included Professor John Swinton from the University Aberdeen, Drs David Jones from The Elizabeth Anscombe Centre for Bioethics and Pia Mathews from St John’s Seminary Wonersh. The conference was joined by representatives of the Knights of Columbus from America, who provided insight to their work in Haiti with physically disabled people and their sponsorship of the Haitian amputee football team, Team Zaryen.

Baroness Shelia Hollins provided practical insight both as an eminent professional in the field of disability and also as a parent of a disabled child as she spoke about her project 'Books beyond words' and sport. Paralympian Stefanie Read recorded her testimony for the conference and a brief excerpt from the inspiring Paralympic resource Undefeated was also shown, produced by the Baptist Missionary Society.

The afternoon concluded with presentations from Andy Reed OBE from the Special Olympics Association, who brought the whole scope of the Olympic Games to this interesting and insightful day.

As the opening keynote speaker, Professor John Swinton of the University of Aberdeen spoke of the need to provide people with a place of belonging. “Inclusion is no longer enough”, he said. “To be true to the Gospel means ensuring that everyone has a place where they belong and are not merely included, where they are welcome at the heart of a community, where they are appreciated and deeply missed when not present.” He spoke of the Church needing to own and promote a new way of approaching the disabled person, rejecting the traditional approach of piety that focuses on a person’s vulnerability.

The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic men’s organisation from the USA who helped to sponsor the event, premiered their film Healing Haiti’s Children. It showed how football is being used to help adults and children in Haiti affected by the hurricane in January 2010 to regain social status in one of the world’s poorest countries where being disabled has previously carried a social stigma. Many of Haiti’s now hundreds of amputees have used the challenge of losing an arm or leg as a positive statement to give back to society and to show that facing adversity can bring long-term benefits for everyone.

Theologian Dr Pia Matthews, a member of Arundel & Brighton Adult Formation Commission broke open John Paul II’s Theology of the Body explaining its relevance not only to the Paralympic experience but also to that of everyday ordinary people. She mentioned two concerns expressed by the deceased Pope: “Modern people, the abled as much as the disabled, no longer identify themselves subjectively with their bodies. It is as if the ‘hero’ self is imprisoned in matter and the body is the problem and so becomes an object to be manipulated.” And secondly, “the human tendency is to make the other into an object for me, forgetting or simply not seeing that the other is ‘an other’, a Christ. It seems that the profoundly disabled are more likely to be seen as ‘an object’ on several accounts.” She wwent on to say that “some build shells to protect themselves others. Others cannot mask their loneliness by strategies and so either way there is loneliness that seeks companionship but runs the risk of added loneliness when companionship does not materialise or when it ends up being another objectivisation.”

Cristina Gangemi, disability consultant to the Catholic Church in England and Wales, called the Paralympics a Christological event. "The Paralympics show us what Christ asks all of us to do,” she said, “to see a person regardless of their human form in all its potential and placing that person into a society in which the disability disappears. The Paralympics enact the Theology of the Body written by John Paul II, who was himself a great sportsman. He was always in shape, firmly disciplined, and allowed the Spirit to guide him in sport. He also demonstrated, experiencing firsthand the physical disability, that there is continuity between health and illness and that the body must be respected and honored at all stages. "

A day dedicated to disability then took place at Aylesford Priory, the Carmelite monastery in Kent. In previous years the day was organised for the Archdiocese of Southwark. This year the day has been organised by a joint committee made up of diocesan disability consultants, Faith and Light, HCPT and others engaging with those with disabilities. Hundreds of people attended from across the country, about half of whom were themselves disabled, with the focus being on the human person in its full diversity.

The day was for the most part led by people with disabilities and included sports and arts, music, prayers, and finally, the celebration of the Mass celebrated by Bishop John Hine. He spoke of the need for everyone to recognise that Christ, the Messiah, is present in a tangible way and therefore to be honoured within their neighbour.

The opportunity was taken towards the end of the day to thank Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche, which inspired much of the work being done today with those who are disabled.

Aside from theory and practice, great graces have been experienced through these new ventures. Julie Henry, who prepared and led the music for the national day, was herself very recently in a coma. Her daughter brought some holy water to her hospital bed and soon she was awake and speaking to doctors saying: “I still have to lead the music at Aylesford. It is on my heart and my goal is to be well and to be there.” She led an amazing day of liturgical music and playful celebration.

One person wrote from their wheelchair of the effects both events are having on her life: “I know now that my journey must become more embodied, more disciplined, and committed in walk with God, both physically and spiritually. I know He wants to teach me about nurturing, honouring, celebrating and sharing the body He has gifted to me. Even in the last few days, this new understanding has given rise to a willingness to risk giving up my pride, my self-sufficiency, and my envy, and to share more honestly and vulnerably with my friends and with God all my hopes, my fears and my dreams. I even plan to join a local gym in the next week too.”

Both days were characterised by the commitment of all those present to continue working together to build a just and fair society, but where more significantly people with disabilities are not just included, but where they feel they truly matter and wholeheartedly belong.

For more info:
please contact JAMES PARKER at 07930 119381/, or CRISTINA GANGEMI at 07958 955804/
For photos:
EveryBody has a place - (please acknowledge Marcin Mazur as photographer as follows “© Mazur/”)."

Monday, 16 July 2012

New Cathedral Centre Refurbishment Completed

Cathedral Centre in its original guise as a Boy's School
Over the last two years, the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton has been involved in two major projects for Arundel Cathedral. The first was the total replacement of the fleche (spire) which was finished last summer. The second has been the rebuild and refurbishment of the Cathedral Hall (St Mary’s) which was finished this May ready for the Diocesan Golden Jubilee in 2015. The total cost has been over £1 million. The Friends of Arundel Cathedral and Arundel Parish have put in over £430,000 which leaves the Diocese with a shortfall of over £500,000.

St Mary’s Hall was built in 1881, as a school for boys. After the Second World War, when no longer needed as a school, it was used as a parish Hall. With the formation of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton in 1965, its use was widened to cater for Diocesan events, and modifications were made to provide some kitchen facilities, more toilets and easier access to the lower level.

For some years now it has been apparent that a comprehensive ‘makeover’ was long overdue. The whole building was looking shabby, and the kitchen, heating system, toilet facilities and access for the disabled fell far below acceptable standards. It was time to transform it into a fitting venue for meetings and social events for the Parish and Diocese for the 21st century.

The design, worked out with St Anne’s Gate Architects, of Salisbury, tries to make the best use of all the spaces available. And new spaces were created by excavating under the whole front of the building to make what had previously just been voids under the floor into usable rooms, thus freeing up space elsewhere. This involved extensive underpinning to the foundations, which, due to structural damage resulting from an ancient tree stump left under the original building, had to be extended along the whole front of the building.

In the finished building, all parts of the Upper and Lower Halls are accessible to the disabled via ramps and a special wheelchair lift, and a new meeting room has been created which can be used on its own or in conjunction with the main hall. The Music Office will be re-located at the lower level. New heating, lighting and fire alarm systems will be installed. Improved storage space, a much enlarged, and fully equipped, kitchen and updated toilets will complete the transformation.

To celebrate the transformation of the building, and emphasise its link with the Cathedral,  the refurbished building is to be called The Cathedral Centre. The large hall at the upper level will retain the name St Mary’s Hall, the smaller hall at the lower level will be called St Philip Howard Hall, and the meeting room at the upper level (currently the music office) will be called the Cashman Room after our first bishop, David Cashman.

This is a big project for a small parish, so any contribution to the cost would be very gratefully received. Cheques should be made payable to ‘Arundel Cathedral’ and sent to: Bishop Kieran, Cathedral House, Parsons Hill, Arundel, BN19 9AY. Please do remember to gift aid your donation if you are a tax payer.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Marriage Foundation Set Up in UK

Couples renew their vows during Diocesan Marriage Anniversay Mass
The Marriage Foundation is inviting people to share their experiences of marriage in 50 words on the web. Everything from why you support marriage, to the challenges you've overcome.
The goal of the Marriage Foundation is simple: to  increase the rate of marriage and reduce the rate of divorce. To make this happen the foundation, which is based in the UK, and is secular, is mainly depending on cold hard statistics.   

The idea came about from Paul Coleridge, a family law specialist and High Court judge, who was concerned about the high rate of divorce, single parent households and its lasting effects on children and adolescents. 

You can see more about it in a short video on Rome Reports

The Diocese of Arundel & Brighton Diocese has its own Marriage and Family Life Department which is led by M&FL Adviser Katherine Bergin.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Physicist turned Priest on the 'God Particle'

Fr Andrew Pinsent - Priest, Scientist and Philospher
Fr Andrew Pinsent, a priest of Arundel & Brighton Diocese who once worked at CERN in Switzerland talks about the recent discovery of Higgs-Boson particle and what it means, and how science and faith intersect. He is is Research Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Religion and Science at Oxford University, a Research Fellow of Harris-Manchester College and a member of the Faculty of Theology at Oxford. He also assists in the parish of St Joseph's, Epsom.

Listen to his talk on the Catholic Bishops' Conference website in conversation with seminarian Daniel Fitzgerald: Audio-Particle Physicist turned Priest on the 'God Particle' / Catholic News / Podcasts / Home - The Catholic Church for England and Wales

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Mgr Philip Egan Appointed Bishop of Portsmouth

Mgr Philip Egan soon to be ordained Bishop of Portsmouth
CCN reports:
"The Holy Father has appointed Mgr Philip Egan, currently Vicar General of the Diocese of Shrewsbury, to become the eighth Bishop of Portsmouth, in succession to Bishop Crispian Hollis who is retiring.

Commenting on his appointment, Mgr Philip Egan said:
“It is with trepidation and yet with profound trust in the loving mercy of the Sacred Heart of Christ, that I accept the Holy Father’s appointment as the new Bishop of Portsmouth, in succession to dear Bishop Crispian. I look forward with joy to working with my fellow priests and with all who minister in parishes, schools and other contexts, caring for the people of God. May we all together be in the closest communion of heart and mind with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, and faithful to his call to new evangelisation. The ministry of the Bishop, as the chief shepherd, priest and teacher of the flock entrusted to him, involves carrying the Lord’s Cross in a particular way. So as I begin this ministry and look to the years ahead, I sincerely ask you for your prayers, together with those of our brothers and sisters in the other Christian communities and indeed of every person of faith and goodwill. May Mary, Queen conceived without original sin, and St. Edmund of Abingdon, obtain for us a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit, that all may come to know, serve and love Our Lord Jesus Christ”.

Welcoming the appointment, Bishop Crispian Hollis said:
“I warmly welcome the appointment by the Holy See of Mgr Philip Egan to be my successor in the Portsmouth diocese and becoming its 8th Bishop.

Mgr Philip brings a wide experience of the life of the Church to this new post. He is a theologian and has been Dean of Studies at St Mary’s College, Oscott; he has been until now an able administrator in the diocese of Shrewsbury, serving as Vicar General, as well as a being an excellent parish priest in the bread and butter world of parochial ministry.

He takes over the diocese at a particularly important time in the history of the diocese (erected in 1882). Bishop Crispian Hollis has, in his 23 years as bishop, overseen the restructuring of the diocese. There is a Pastoral Plan for the diocese – Go out and Bear Fruit – which is in process of implementation and because of the launching the “Living Our Faith” appeal, there is nearly £13 million available for that implementation of the Pastoral Plan, thus setting up the diocese for its future in the 21st century.

Mgr Philip brings his undoubted pastoral and administrative skills to further the progress that the diocese has made in recent years and the implementation of the Pastoral Plan, and his appointment is just what the diocese needs.

He will be made very welcome by the clergy and people of the diocese and everyone is looking forward to working with him in the proclaiming and living of the Gospel”.

The Episcopal Ordination will take place at the St John’s Cathedral, Portsmouth at 2.30 pm on Monday September 24th.2012."

Many congratulations to our new neighbour in Portsmouth!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Largest UK Vocations Festival a Resounding Success

Invocation 2012 Participants at Evening Vigil
© Mazur/
CCN reports that: "Around four hundred young adults gathered at Oscott College in Birmingham this weekend (Friday 6 July - Sunday 8 July) to celebrate the third national discernment festival, Invocation. This inclded young adults from Arundel & Brighton Diocese alongside Vocations Director Fr Terry Martin and other priests of the diocese.

In the largest festival to date, young people from across the UK met with priests and Religious, and heard addresses from Canon Luiz Ruscillo, Sr Catherine Holum CFR, and Bishop Mark Davies. They also venerated the relic of the heart of St John Vianney - the patron saint of Parish Priests - which concluded its four day visit to the UK at the event.

At the final Mass, Archbishop Vincent Nichols was joined by the Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Reverend Bernard Longley, and the Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency the Most Reverend Antonio Mennini, who preached at the closing liturgy.

In his homily, Archbishop Mennini said, “This Invocation Festival is a wonderful opportunity for you to seek out others who share your desire to know God’s will and who visibly remind you very clearly that you are not alone. None of us is alone when we know and love the Lord! Here too, during this festival, and perhaps when you are at home [...] it is possible to make the time, the space and especially the silence as members of the Body of Christ to help one another in listening for, and hearing God’s call, especially in the Holy Eucharist and during time spent in adoration of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament”.

The festival, for young men and women aged 16-35, aims to deepen their relationship with Christ, giving them access to good formation and space for the discernment and understanding of God's will for their lives. It offers them the chance to speak with priests and Religious who are joyfully living their vocation, and to encounter a confident Catholic future for their lives.

Sr Catherine Holum, a former Olympic speedskater-turned-nun spoke about her vocation to the Religious Life saying: “The greatest joy about being a sister is belonging totally to Jesus. He is my spouse”.

Fr Stephen Langridge, Chairman of the national Conference of Diocesan Directors of Vocation (CDDV), and one of the organisers of the event, said, “This year’s event exceeded all our expectations. It is a privilege to help these young Catholics find the life that God is calling them to lead, and with the Lord’s help, the Church can be confident of an exciting future”.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Golden Jubilee First Preparation Event in Bexhill

Bishop Kieran address packed hall at St Richard's, Bexhill
The preparation events for the Golden Diocesan Jubilee in 2015, that Bishop Kieran recently spoke in a Pastoral Letter to the Diocese, began this week and are to continue throughout July and September. The picture above shows Deacon Andew Bayes from the Jubilee Office speaking to the first packed preparation evening in Bexhill.

In his Pastoral Letter and on the first evening in Bexhill Bishop Kieran said:"The celebration of our Diocesan Jubilee in 2015 has this very specific purpose in mind, that it will make a difference and will be a moment of renewal and restoration. That’s why I’m asking you to be as much a part of it as you can. I am asking that you take part in the programmes over the next four years when we look at the four major documents of the Vatican Council, whose 50th anniversary coincides with the Jubilee of the diocese."
For more information on the Jubilee and the Bishop's Pastoral Letter read here...

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Two New Deacons for the Diocese

Bishop Kieran and Joseph Cote at St Erconwold's,

Deacon Adrian Burnett in st Joseph's, Guildford
Congratulations to Adrian Burnett and Joseph Cote, and their families who were ordained last weekend for the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton in Guildford and Walton-on-Thames respectively by Bishop Kieran.

Wishing many years of happy and blessed ministry.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Seminarian Takes Another Step Along Ordination Journey

Simon Dray in centre with
L-R Front: Frs Stephen Dingley, Peter Fitch, Graham Bamford, Raglan Hay-Will and Dave King
L-R Back: Deacon Chris Dobson and Fr Terry Martin (Vocations Director)
 Simon Dray, a seminarian for the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton, was recently admitted to candidacy at St John's Seminary, Wonersh. This is a significant step en route to ordination and forms a key part of a student's formation and preparation for Diaconate and Priesthood.

Deacon Chris Dobson who is pictured with Simon will be ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese at Worth Abbey alongside Alan Sharpe on 21 July. Later that evening Bishop Kieran will ordain Robert Wellbeloved to the Diaconate at Knaphill parish.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Pray for Piers Hopson RIP

Piers Hopson
Many of you may remember the various blog enteries about Piers Hopson who had learning difficulities and was missing. I have heard recently from his father, Roger Hopson who says:
"We have just had confirmation from Sussex Police that our son Piers is dead. His body was found 8 miles south of Newhaven by a French fishing boat. Now we can grieve and find closure.
Kind regards
Roger Hopson"

I have told Roger that we will pray for the repose of Piers' soul and for his family. May he rest in peace